Jacqueline Everett : Poetry
The Finish Line
The medical tents are already there,
hydration stations stacked, waiting in line
on Patriots' Day downtown Copley Square;
Newton and Darwin lauded in stone,
between Armani, Gucci and Beacon Hill
above The Common's late flowering blooms
where we tourists follow The Freedom Trail
painted in red; history's open wounds;
lives ended by home made back-packer bombs,
destroy people they never even saw,
ball bearings, nails, tearing apart limbs,
some only saved by strangers schooled in war.
As we question again whose hate, whose fears?
Boston's magnolias shed waxen tears.
Carole Bromley writes
"....written in response to my challenge .... my personal favourite of all the poems submitted this time .... is by Jacqueline Everett who happened to be in Boston the day before the bombing. All the details, place names, the briefly flowering magnolias, the very American "Finish Line", the "hydration tents" ready for the marathon, little details like the precise statues and the Freedom Trail marked in red transport us to the spot in a way that someone basing their poem on a newspaper report could never do. And those falling petals like "waxen tears" are perfect. Lovely poem."
Resurrection at Benson
(Homage to Stanley Spencer's Resurrection at Cookham)
Long may they dance on their graves,
Amy Newman writes "This feels alive (such a fun word to use in this context, in light of Stanley's resurrected villagers). A kind of celebratory elegy that engages the energy of Spencer's visionary, imaginative melding of fact and is energized by the poet's imagination. I admire the lines that open each stanza, for example: "Long may they dance on their graves" and "Long may they dance in the spring," as a kind echo of commemoration in the midst of these resurrected, lively dancers, so vividly "garlanded in black eyed pansies,/ broken vertebrae liver spot brown,/ cataract milky blue" against the oncoming lines as they leave "the warm embrace of the slow foxtrot/ behind in the wooden hut, stiff/ with the smell of creosote and sweat". There is a delicious pleasure even in the strange idea of the dead returning in a kind of old-fashioned dance on terra firma. The mix of the content and the lively language (the dancers now "throwing back the rounded turfs/ splitting apart after a dry winter,/ toes touching, hop skipping") reminds me of the joyful quality of William Carlos Williams' "The Dance" after Breughel's Kermess, another ekphrastic pleasure. Spencer's Resurrection at Cookham features that central leafy green foliage around which the resurrected move, and I love the way that Everett works with this vegetation in the "quadrille of beech and ivy," in "the lovers drunk as lords tumbling with joy/ into the watercress beds on their way home." Such delightful, descriptive language is a joy to read."
garlanded in black eyed pansies,
broken vertebrae liver spot brown,
cataract milky blue, traces kicked over
at the very thought of the last waltz and
the long walk home, leaving
the warm embrace of the slow foxtrot
behind in the wooden hut, stiff
with the smell of creosote and sweat.
Long may they dance in the spring,
throwing back the rounded turfs
splitting apart after a dry winter,
toes touching, hop skipping
across the sandstone and marble,
bowling a century not out on the
fully trimmed pitch of the Air Force plots,
wicket keeping behind the upright stones.
Long may they sing with their full
chested orange beaked trills
ricocheting from bench to bench,
memories wrinkling up their toes
with the pleasure of it all, swept off
their feet into a quadrille of beech and ivy,
the star burst of a blossom tree lighting a
candle for all to see beneath the clock
where midnight is never struck.
Long may they join their hands together
to make that hokey cokey circle turn.
Long may they weave between us
with a conga, you've never yet seen
the like of, lives plaited into a single thread
with bridges hardly crossed and rivers still to swim,
lovers drunk as lords tumbling with joy
into the watercress beds on their way home.
Spring, A Sestina
In the Beginning
Monticello , Virginia
Dancing with Neil Armstrong
The sonnet The Grünewald was long listed for the YorkMix.com Poetry Competition 2014.